The Restaurants Association gave a cautious welcome to the Taoiseach’s announcement on the easing of Covid restrictions.
Chief executive Adrian Cummins said the measures went a long way towards outlining a roadmap for the sector with the provision of key dates, metrics and targets.
However, he said there was more work to be done regarding business supports for an industry which he said had been ‘economically flattened’ since March of last year.
“The Tourism Sector, which restaurants and hospitality are a significant part of, employed pre-pandemic over 265,000 people and contributed €9.2 billion to the economy,” Mr Cummins said.
“A sector with such significance to the overall economy must continue to receive supports to survive until trading levels can return with the resumption of international tourism and lifting of all trading current restrictions,” he added.
That call for a commitment on the continuation of business and employment supports was echoed by the Irish Hotels Federation.
While welcoming the further easing of restrictions, the group called on the Government to give a clear commitment on the retention of the 9% VAT rate until 2025, as well as an extension of the employment supports and a commercial rates waiver until June of next year.
“Continued support for the industry must remain to the fore of Government economic policy as we seek to restore employment levels and tourism communities in a sustainable way as quickly as possible,” IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said.
“It is essential that the Government provides certainty around the supports into 2022 so that businesses, particularly those reliant on overseas visitors, can plan for their recovery as they face into the traditional off-peak tourist season, which in Ireland runs from September until May,” she said.